Her mirror was her audience, and hairbrush was her Oscar trophy - Freida Pinto grew up dreaming to make it big in cinema. Now she is rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's creme-de-la-creme, but the young actress wants people in India to believe that she is very much connected to her roots.
"I would like to take this opportunity to tell everybody who thinks that I have forgotten my roots - that is untrue and absolute rubbish. I have always said that and I stand by that. I should not be blamed for having a different sensibility. Everybody has a sense of sensibility," Freida said on Friday.
The 28-year-old made a special mention of 1987 film Mirch Masala, and said she would love to work in a remake of the movie, and "reprise late actress Smita Patil's part, just because I love that film".
Freida, who tasted overnight success with Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, spoke candidly about her "struggles" at the India Today Conclave 2013.
She shared the stage along with acclaimed actor Irrfan to speak on "India ignores till the world applauds?"
Freida said the world still remembers Indian talents like the late maverick filmmaker Satyajit Ray and sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, and that it is actors like Tabu and Irrfan who have paved the way for "actors like us who dreamt of doing the kind of work we are doing today, of being a part of a global phenomena".
"Do I ignore India? No. I think the cinema that I feel my sensibilities match with is happening only now in India. Films like Paan Singh Tomar, Shahid and Gattu... things are changing, and it's about how responsibly we put the right kind of films out there for the world to see and for the world to accept," she added.
Freida, who many have believed stays away from Indian films consciously, said: "When I grew up, in the 1990s, the focus of Indian cinema had shifted to big budget and box office type of films, films that were providing money."
That is when, she says, her struggle began.
"I told my sister that if by the time I turn 25, nothing happens, I am going to become a wedding planner. I never had a Plan A or B, acting was all that I ever wanted to do," she added.
A theatre enthusiast, Freida even saw a "dead end" as far as theatre was concerned in India as it was not as appreciated in India as it is in New York, London or Los Angeles.
"When I was 22, I got a casting call for Slumdog Millionaire," she said. And since then, there's been no looking back for this model-turned-actress, who has already joined forces with the likes of filmmaker Woody Allen and actors James Franco and Christian Bale.
Her motto in life is never to fall pray ot stereotypical roles.